Village memories: Green Dragon Lane, Northern Woods (Picture from SWOP website)
PRIVATE 31439 16TH BATTALION LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
DIED OF WOUNDS ON WEDNESDAY 4TH APRIL 1917 AGED 33YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR IN CAYEUX MILITARY CEMETERY,
SOMME, FRANCE. (I.B.1.)
Reuben Smith was born in Little Marlow ,Buckinghamshire abt.1884( according to the 1901 Census). He was one of twelve children of George & Mary Ann nee Summerfield of Sedgemoor Road, Flackwell Heath. He was an older brother of Arthur Gilbert Smith who also died in WW1. The 1901 Census shows him as general labourer like his father. As a child he attended Little Marlow school. He enlisted in High Wycombe and was living in Little Marlow at this time.
Reuben married Minnie nee Durrant in 1906. She may have been married before as on the 1911 Census he has a step-son Charlie Durrant aged 6yrs. They are living in Flackwell Heath and had a son Reginald aged 4yrs and a daughter Beatrice aged 2 months. Minnie died in February 1961.
Reuben joined the Army Veterinary Corps soon after the beginning of the war (army number 7345) and went to France immediately. In September 1916 he volunteered for the front line and returned to England for training. He was drafted to the Royal Field Artillery and then later to the Lancashire Fusiliers. He went back to France on January 3rd 1917.
During the Great War 14.000 men of the Fusiliers were killed or died from wounds. Reuben died from wounds received on 1st April 1917 during an attack on Savy Wood (St Quentin).
He was wounded away from his comrades but was later found. Unfortunately he died a few hours later. He was buried behind the trenches at Savy Wood.
Reuben Smith is also remembered on the Little Marlow War Memorial and the Little Marlow School Memorial.